Is there a word like that?

Example sentence:

With my stomach full, I __. This time using the shower.

  • 1
    Uh, "bathe" covers both. – Hot Licks Aug 21 '17 at 16:48

Two verbs are options:

to wash: (intransitive verb, meaning 1): 'to wash oneself or a part of one's body'

to ablute: 'to wash one's body : to perform one's ablutions'.

So, in your sentence, you'd have either:

With my stomach full, I wash. This time using the shower.


With my stomach full, I ablute. This time using the shower.

|improve this answer|||||
  • 1
    IME, using the verb to ablute is extremely rare in normal speech. To make [one's] ablutions is much more common, but even that has a connotation of extremely (or comically) formal speech. – The Photon Aug 22 '17 at 1:58
  • @ThePhoton I concur. We use ablute frequently in my household but always with tongue in cheek. Along with ablutions it has almost vanished from use in Australia. The ablution blocks of my school days no longer exist, or perhaps they've just been renamed. – NMI Aug 26 '17 at 11:45

The answer that occurred to me was “wash up” (as opposed to just “wash”). I think of that as a refined British expression for bathing or showering. But research did not exactly put that beyond all doubt.

You’d start work about six. We usually got out around maybe dark or seven or eight, nine o’clock. I come back as late as ten o’clock at night. Sometimes I just laid down to sleep, not even sleep – then wash up.

-Working, by Studs Terkel

“Pa,” she called. “John, git up! You, Al. Git up an’ git washed.” Startled sleepy eyes looked out at her. “All of you,” Ma cried. “You git up an’ git your face washed. An’ comb your hair.”

Uncle John looked pale and sick. There was a red bruised place on his chin.

Pa demanded, “What’s the matter?”

“The Committee,” Ma cried. “They’s a committee – a ladies’ committee a-comin’ to visit. Git up now an’ git washed. An’ while we was a-sleepin’ an’ a-snorin’, Tom’s went out an’ got work. Git up, now.”

They came sleepily out of the tent. Uncle John staggered a little, and his face was pained.

“Git over to that house and wash up,” Ma ordered.

-The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

Both of those quotations seem to show people using the expression “wash up” for washing themselves, as opposed to washing dishes, for example. But the people using the expression seem to be rural Americans who are not particularly fastidious about language. And I did find lots of uses of “wash,” with our without “up,” for cleaning house, and none of them British. So all I can say is that to my own ears, “washing up” (with no stated object) sounds like a slightly stilted expression for bathing or showering.

P.S. I cannot find the script online, but I believe that in the 1984 film The Razor's Edge, Elliott Templeton asks Larry Darrell to "have a wash" before attending his party.

|improve this answer|||||
  • Both American books, and the newest is nearly 50 years old. I'd like to see some evidence that it's still used today. And that it means bathing or showering, rather than just washing your hands and face. – Peter Shor Aug 21 '17 at 15:54
  • 'Wash up' in British English is what you do when you wash the dishes. It's not (AFAIK!) ever used for washing yourself. – Kiloran_speaking Aug 21 '17 at 16:25
  • As an American I don't think wash up is completely outdated. It could mean either washing the body or washing the dishes. If it's necessary to differentiate, you could say either "wash myself up" or "wash the dishes". But washing yourself up might not mean taking a shower or bath. It could also mean just washing the face and hands. – The Photon Aug 22 '17 at 1:56

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.